UTWind wins first place in the international competition for small wind turbines


In their first-ever competition, UTWind – a team of undergraduate and graduate students from U of T Engineering – won first prize in an international challenge to design and build a small-scale wind turbine .

“While we always strived to be a competitive team from the start and knew we had a solid design, we certainly didn’t expect to take first place,” says David Petriw (Year 3 MSE), member of UTWind.

“Team morale is high and we are going to celebrate this victory in style!”

The International Small Wind Turbine Competition (ISWTC) is organized annually by Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, the Netherlands. To clinch first place, UTWind edged out teams from Denmark, Germany, Poland and Egypt.

“ISWTC’s goal is to build and demonstrate a wind turbine designed for rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa,” says André Ilersich (UTIAS doctoral student), aerodynamic manager for UTWind.

“Every aspect of our design had to be suitable for, or at least compatible with, the region in which it would be sold and operated. We also had to show that our design was sustainable, being made from recyclable, inexpensive and local materials. materials available. »

Unlike large wind turbines used in commercial wind farms, which can tower up to over a hundred meters and each generate megawatts of power, small wind turbines (SWTs) are designed for generation at scales ranging from a few hundred watts to a few kilowatts.

To win the ISWTC, teams must demonstrate industry-leading performance on a number of criteria, including power generation, start-up speed, estimated annual power generation, and power coefficient, which is a measure turbine efficiency.

Performance was measured in the Open Jet Facility Wind Tunnel at Delft University of Technology. After that, the teams headed to the Science of Making Torque conference in Delft, to present their business case.

The process of creating the prototype took over a year from start to finish.

“We started the design phase at the beginning of 2021 and the whole was built in the winter semester of 2022,” explains ashley best (Year 3 MSE), Media Team Lead for UTWind.

“Our turbine is made from wood and 3D printed plastic. A few parts were outsourced to our sponsor machine shop, Protocase, but the majority of manufacturing was done in-house by our team – 3D printing, laser cutting, drilling, turning, milling, and assembly.

“One of the things that set our team apart was our high power coefficient, even when operating at very low wind speeds,” says UTWind co-president and technical advisor, suraj bansal (doctoral student UTIAS).

“Additionally, we had a very modular, low-cost, and durable construction, as well as a self-starting wind turbine design through our active pitch control system. We are currently creating a mobile application to control and monitor the performance of the wind turbines directly from our mobile devices.”

UTWind is one of U of T Engineering‘s newest design teams, co-founded in January 2021 by Bansal and Ben Gibson (UTIAS MASc 2T2).

“I was a member of a similar wind turbine design team at the University of Manitoba, while Suraj had previous experience from his master’s research work in the United States to design large-scale wind turbines,” says Gibson.

“We wanted to impart as much knowledge as possible, while having fun and pushing ourselves to the max. And so far, everything has gone well!”


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